The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family
Title: The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family
Author: Charles Lachman
The progeny of some of our most prominent presidents has been the subject of numerous biographies and historical studies, but no other presidential family rose to the achievement level of the Adams family. Although that is certainly true of the Lincoln family, the history of his family after Lincoln’s assassination provides both historical and dramatic interest. Abraham and Mary Lincoln had four sons, but only Robert, the oldest, survived into adulthood and produced his own children. Lachman follows the fate of Lincoln’s immediate family and their descendants in an informative survey.
This absorbing American tragedy tells the largely unknown story of the acrimony that consumed the Lincolns in the months and years that followed the president’s murder. This was not a family that came together in mourning and mutual sadness; instead, they fell out over the anguished mental condition of the widowed Mary. In 1875, Robert—the handsome but resentful eldest Lincoln child—engineered her arrest and forcible commitment to an insane asylum. In each succeeding generation, the Lincolns’ misfortunes multiplied, as a litany of alcohol abuse, squandered fortunes, burned family papers, and outright dissipation led to the downfall of this once-great family.
Charles Lachman traces the story right up to the last generation of Lincoln descendants: great-grandson Bob Lincoln Beckwith, his estranged wife, Annemarie, and her son, Timothy Lincoln Beckwith. Bob, who was according to all medical evidence sterile, believes the son who bears the Lincoln name was the product of an adulterous affair. Annemarie, however, wanted the boy to be a “Lincoln,” putting the child in line for a vast inheritance. There’s even evidence—uncovered by Lachman for the first time—that a scheme to obtain possession of the Lincoln fortune was orchestrated by Bob Beckwith’s chauffer, who may have been the notorious outlaw and skyjacker, D.B. Cooper.
Published in advance of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday in February 2009, The Last Lincolns provides an unforgettable glimpse into the personal legacy left by the man who could unite a nation…but not his own family.
-Abraham and Mary Lincoln were very lenient with their younger sons—and rarely imposed discipline on them.
-At age 12, young Tad Lincoln—whose education during the family’s White House years was very lax—could still not read.
-Eldest son Robert Lincoln objected to the intense attention the media paid to the Lincoln family.
-After her husband’s assassination, Mary Lincoln pleaded for financial assistance from family friends and people in government.
-Mary’s erratic behavior led Robert to swear out a warrant for her arrest and institutionalization.